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Best (easiest) way to cook butternut squash


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Someone gave us 5 butternut squash. None of us have ever had it, nor have I ever cooked it. Best recipes? Any way that would be good for veggie-hating kids? I'm sharing with a neighbor and family, but that's still a lot of squash (squashes?). 

I have an oven, an Instant pot, and a crockpot. 

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Split in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, put the halves flesh side down in a roasting pan with about an inch of water, roast uncovered at 350 for 45 min to an hour or until there is no resistance anywhere when pierced with a knife (this is important, because at least with my kids, texture is the key to getting them to eat squash).  Scoop out flesh while avoiding any really stringy bits, mash with butter, brown sugar or honey, a generous shake of cinnamon and a sprinkle of salt.  It's like eating pumpkin pie without a crust.

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Halve it, scoop out the seeds, cut it into 1 inch pieces, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast in the oven at 450 until cooked through (easily cut in half is a good check) about 40 minutes.

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Stab it a couple of times and throw it in the oven at 400 until it’s soft (maybe an hour).  THEN halve it and scoop out the seeds.   But you won’t have nice cubes, you’ll have to mash it or soup it.

You can treat it like mashed potatoes, you can mix it with mashed potatoes, or you can randomly find a recipe for soup because butternut squash soup is amazing and it’s hard to screw up.

oh!  I just thought about the fact you can add it to a pot of chili!  Mash it first, then add it before you start cooking.    Maybe it doesn’t work if your chili is like Cincinnati chili, has to be a bean-based chili.

Edited by Ailaena
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You can poke it with a knife and microwave for a while before attempting to cut it with a knife.  
 

I have always put it in a Pyrex and poured water around it if I cut it in half and then put it in the oven?  
 

I have mostly made butternut squash soup, which is very tasty and is not picky with however it gets cooked!

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In general it’s going to be easier to scoop the flesh out after it’s cooked.  Cutting it up before it’s cooked is on the difficult side for me.  
 

I don’t even try to cut it until it’s been in the microwave for a few minutes.  
 

I am one of those people who doesn’t keep my knives really sharp, though, ymmv. 

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Roasted is the easiest. 2 recipes we've had this month

Soup - I only make this in the fall but it tastes like fall!  So good! 

https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/slow-cooker-butternut-squash-soup-recipe/

If you like making bread .... I have summer pesto in my freezer so I don't have to do that part, it's putsy otherwise.  

https://www.pbs.org/food/recipes/pesto-pinwheel-bread/

 

I also threw roasted cubed squash into a spanokopita I made.  We get a CSA so creativity abounds while those veggies are coming in.  Oh one other thing I did was make homemade ravioli with a pumpkin, butternut would be a good sub.  That is super kid friendly.  I modified a bit but started with this.

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017824-pumpkin-ravioli-with-sage-walnut-pumpkin-butter

You could use it to make a pumpkin pie even

https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2017/11/bravetart-butternut-pumpkin-pie-recipe.html

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Personally I think butternut squash soup is really good.  But, dicing butternut squash I think is not worth the effort.  In good news, they last a long time and they are amazing in soup.  So good.  

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I have had butternut squash pie (like pumpkin pie) and it is excellent.  I have never made it myself, though.  
 

I have eaten “boats” too that were good and I think they are easy to prepare.  You cut them in half, remove the seeds, put in some seasoning, and then cook in the oven — again, my mom would place them face-down and pour water around them, to cook them in the oven.  Edit:  or face-up but then cover with foil.  Or start face-down and then turn face-up if making boats, I think, if the directions are to take them out and add the filling/seasoning for boats after so many minutes.  
 

These are good but not as good as zucchini boats imo, and not as good as butternut squash soup.  But it is good for sure.  My mom had a magazine one time with recipes for sweet and savory butternut squash boats. The sweet had cinnamon and sugar.  The savory had Parmesan cheese (iirc).  That’s what I can remember — they were both good.  

Edited by Lecka
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This is just me — I think bc of what I grew up with, I mainly like butternut squash when it has more of a soft/creamy texture.  I think I would want it to be cooked in water in the oven, I think it would be softer.  It is not as much of a roasted texture.  It’s no trouble to set half of one face-down in a little water, if cooking in the oven.  
 

For less of a soft texture and more (any lol) bite — probably roast 😉
 

I have had roasted diced butternut squash and it’s not my preference.  But it’s definitely something a lot of people like.  

Edited by Lecka
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Poke holes, so it doesn't explode, then roast it in the oven. Let it cool. Scoop out seeds.

Use the squash part to make "pumpkin" pie! My kids' favorite fall/winter breakfast food! 

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24 minutes ago, Lecka said:

This is just me — I think bc of what I grew up with, I mainly like butternut squash when it has more of a soft/creamy texture.  I think I would want it to be cooked in water in the oven, I think it would be softer.  It is not as much of a roasted texture.  It’s no trouble to set half of one face-down in a little water, if cooking in the oven.  
 

For less of a soft texture and more (any lol) bite — probably roast 😉
 

I have had roasted diced butternut squash and it’s not my preference.  But it’s definitely something a lot of people like.  

LOL, I'm totally the other way.  I always grew up having it mashed and soft, and it literally made me gag.  It's totally a texture thing.

The first time I had it cubed and roasted, and, yes, it had some bite, I fell in love.

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I don’t care for mashed either.  I love it when it’s so soft eaten, eaten out of the skin.  Mashed is like — baby food consistency when I have had it.  Not my thing.  
 

But I do like soft/creamy!!!!!!  And I like puréed in soup.  
 

I have only had mashed maybe twice and I wonder if I would like it mashed but in a way that wasn’t like baby food?  Bc — it can go to a serious baby food place.  
 

Edit: and I liked the texture when I had it in pie.  It was not like baby food.  
 

Edit:  I often prefer soft to roasted/bite, though for example zucchini I like a lot roasted with a little bite. So it has to be extremely baby-food-like before I won’t care for it.  

Edited by Lecka
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We had a bumper crop of them in our garden this year! My kids' favorite way is cubed & roasted with salt & pepper & garlic powder. 

I also have had good success putting it in chili, especially chicken chili. We also love copycat Panera "Autumn Squash Soup". 

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I love it peeled, seeded, cubed, and roasted.  That's the hardest way to make it.  The easiest is to cut it in half and bake til soft, then scoop it out and use it.  I LOVED squash mashed with butter and cream.  It's divine.  I also like it in soup sometimes plain and sometimes curried.  I accidentally grew about 20 of them and I'm the only one in the house who likes them.  I can pass them off as pumpkin in pie and nobody notices, but my family pumpkin pie recipe is spicier than average.  I made these muffins this week and they were gobbled up.  I told them they were pumpkin-walnut muffins. (I didn't have pecans in the house so I went off-book.)

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I like it cubed and roasted with a little garlic, pepper, and sometimes cumin. It is really good in a salad.

Also, my dogs go nuts for it. I roast several squash a week and give them squash cubes as treats.

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4 hours ago, Cecropia said:

Split in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, put the halves flesh side down in a roasting pan with about an inch of water, roast uncovered at 350 for 45 min to an hour or until there is no resistance anywhere when pierced with a knife (this is important, because at least with my kids, texture is the key to getting them to eat squash).  Scoop out flesh while avoiding any really stringy bits, mash with butter, brown sugar or honey, a generous shake of cinnamon and a sprinkle of salt.  It's like eating pumpkin pie without a crust.

I didn’t know you could make squash sweet!  We might learn to like squash now.  

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This may be a stupid question, but how do you cube it and roast? I had enough trouble cutting it in half to put facedown in water to cook. If I had to hack at it to cube it, I may lose a finger. 

We did @Cecropia's sweeter recipe tonight with chicken drumsticks. It went ok with one kid; one kid was not enthused. DH ate it, but he didn't go back for seconds. 

I remembered I had Jessica Seinfeld's hidden veggie puree cookbook, so I'm gonna try some of those recipes with what was left from tonight's squash. Veggie-despising kiddo is willing to give those a go. 

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4 hours ago, SusanC said:

Halve it, scoop out the seeds, cut it into 1 inch pieces, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast in the oven at 450 until cooked through (easily cut in half is a good check) about 40 minutes.

This is what I was going to suggest as well! It’s so yummy this way. 

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22 minutes ago, historically accurate said:

This may be a stupid question, but how do you cube it and roast? I had enough trouble cutting it in half to put facedown in water to cook. If I had to hack at it to cube it, I may lose a finger. 

We did @Cecropia's sweeter recipe tonight with chicken drumsticks. It went ok with one kid; one kid was not enthused. DH ate it, but he didn't go back for seconds. 

I remembered I had Jessica Seinfeld's hidden veggie puree cookbook, so I'm gonna try some of those recipes with what was left from tonight's squash. Veggie-despising kiddo is willing to give those a go. 

I’ll admit that losing a finger does often go through my head while cutting it into cubes. 🤣 But that’s my favorite way to have it, so I’m just careful. I use a sharp, long chef’s knife to cube it and I peel it with a sharp OXO vegetable peeler. 

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Squash and sausage soup

Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds, roast at 450 for 45 min, scoop out pulp and blend with chicken broth in a blender, then add sausage and corn and rice and salt and pepper and onion and a little bit of cream til heated through. Heavenly! We actually just had it tonight for supper 😊

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3 minutes ago, mmasc said:

I’ll admit that losing a finger does often go through my head while cutting it into cubes. 🤣 But that’s my favorite way to have it, so I’m just careful. I use a sharp, long chef’s knife to cube it and I peel it with a sharp OXO vegetable peeler. 

Yeah, I'm I'm no danger at all of losing a finger. Peel with good peeler, halve with large chef’s knife,  scoop seeds, then cube with chef’s knife.  The knife is always pointed at the chopping block; my fingers are on top of the knife, so completely out of danger...

Now that I've eaten it cubed, I'm not interested in it any other way; to me it's like it's not the same vegetable. No more mooshy squash for me!  (If I bake with puree, I'd use canned...)

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@Matryoshkais right. You need a GOOD peeler. My peeler is a little old, so I peel squash left handed because it’s sharper on that side. So, I peel it, cut in half, remove the seeds, cut into strips, then cut into 1 inch pieces. Then I just toss in olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and bake until lightly browned in some places. It’s so good. 

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Wash well.  Cut in half the long way.

Scoop out and discard seeds and pith.

Take about one head of garlic per squash or so.  Break into individual cloves.  No need to peel.

Put the squash in a roasting pan, cut side up.  Brush heavily with olive oil on the cut and seeded surfaces.  Heap the seeded surfaces with garlic cloves.  Roast at 450 until the squash flesh is dead soft when poked with a fork.

In parallel, dice up white  big Costco onions, you want an equal volume with the volume of the squash.  (Eyeballing this is fine.  Approximate is great.)  Saute in olive oil in a large pot until very soft but not browned all over.  Add a handful of chopped fresh sage per onion toward the end of the cooking time.

When the squash is done, scoop out the flesh and put it into the big pot of onions.  Squeeze out the roasted, now soft garlic from its cloves and add that to the pot also.  Add a little milk, and blend thoroughly with a stick blender.  Add more milk if necessary to get a thick soup, not so much a stew.  Heat slowly, do not boil.  When it's nice and hot, taste and salt to taste.  Sprinkle with a little white pepper.  Serve with crusty rustic bread and a fall salad (I like romaine, dried cranberries, and goat cheese this time of the year, maybe with pomegranate seeds or slices of fuyu persimmon, in a fruity vinaigrette.)  Or serve with bruchetta if you can still get good tomatoes.

Honestly, I don't like winter squashes very much, but this is disguised enough that I enjoy it.

This is extremely healthy except that it has a fairly high glycemic index.  It is loaded with antioxidants, beta carotine, and all the blood cleaning goodness of a really big slug of alliums.

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3 hours ago, historically accurate said:

This may be a stupid question, but how do you cube it and roast? I had enough trouble cutting it in half to put facedown in water to cook. If I had to hack at it to cube it, I may lose a finger. 

We did @Cecropia's sweeter recipe tonight with chicken drumsticks. It went ok with one kid; one kid was not enthused. DH ate it, but he didn't go back for seconds. 

I remembered I had Jessica Seinfeld's hidden veggie puree cookbook, so I'm gonna try some of those recipes with what was left from tonight's squash. Veggie-despising kiddo is willing to give those a go. 

I appreciate that you gave it a try!  Seems that a lot of people prefer firmer, savory squash -- maybe your family will, too.  We are a bunch of sweet tooths over here.

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I cut it in half, clean out the seeds, steam it flesh side down until I can just kind of stick a fork in it, then put them in the oven flesh side up, coat with butter and seasonings, and roast until soft and browned.

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I start by putting it in the oven at F350 for about 15-20 minutes. After that it's not cooked yet but much easier to cut and peel.

Then I peel, cube / slice, drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over it with whatever seasoning you like and bake it again at F350 for another 30-35 minutes or until soften enough to your liking. Pairs well with rice and chicken.

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My mother made this soup today and taunted me with photos of it. So that's how I'm going to use maybe half of the oversized butternut squash that's sitting on my counter right now. I'll have to go through the hassle of peeling and prepping it though, which I know from experience is a massive pain. Still, I'll have the rest of it and I'll cube it. It freezes really well and then you can roast it like potatoes or put it in soup again or something.

https://barefootcontessa.com/recipes/winter-minestrone-garlic-bruschetta

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